The March jobs report beat estimates across the board, with robust nonfarm payroll growth that included big March increases across nearly every sector after big upward revisions. We saw a sharp rebound in the workweek that fueled a huge 1.5% hours-worked pop, and solid household data that trimmed the jobless rate to 6.0%. Only the average hourly earnings data fell short, with a -0.1% drop that left a 4.2% y/y gain.
The report will prompt big upward revisions in most market forecasts for the March data in particular and both Q1 and Q2 GDP and other production metrics overall.
We saw a 916k March payroll rise after 156k in upward revisions.
We saw a 780k private payroll rise after 125k in upward revisions.
Government jobs rose 136k after 31k upward revisions. We saw a 126k rise in state and local education employment that accounted for nearly all of the March increase.
Jobs in the goods sector rose 183k, while the service sector jobs surged by 597k.
For the goods sector breakdown, we saw gains of 53k for factories, 110k for construction, and 20k for mining. We saw a 2.4% hours-worked bounce for the goods sector, with gains of 0.9% for factories, 4.9% for construction, and 4.8% for mining. We saw a 1.3% hours-worked rise for the private service sector.
The workweek bounced to 34.9 from 34.6 in February and a 21-year high of 35.0 (was 34.9) in January that was last seen through most of 2020, 34.7 in December, and a prior 20-year high of 34.8 over the three months through November.
We saw a 1.5% March hours-worked bounce after a -0.8% (was -0.5%) February drop and a 1.0% (was 0.7%) January gain.
The -0.1% March hourly earnings drop followed a 0.3% (was 0.2%) February gain and a flat (was 0.1%) January figure. We saw a 1.0% December surge that received a boost from job losses to low-paid workers that were unwound through Q1.
The y/y hourly earnings rise moderated to 4.2% in March from 5.2% (was 5.3%) in February and 5.2% (was 5.3%) in January, versus 5.5% in December.
For the household survey, we saw March gains of 609k for civilian jobs and a 347k for the labor force, following respective February gains of 208k and 50k.
The “two-digit” jobless rate fell to a new cycle-low of 6.05% from a prior cycle-low of 6.22% in February, versus a 14.77% peak in April of 2020.
The labor force participation rate ticked up to 61.5% from 61.4% in January and February but the same 61.5% in November and December, versus a 48-year low of 60.2% in April of 2020 that marked the lowest readings since February of 1972.
Payrolls over the May-March period have reclaimed 62% of the jobs lost in March and April. Hours-worked have reclaimed a larger 75% of the drop. The larger workweek surge means that hours have been recouped by fewer workers working longer hours. The GDP rise through Q4 has reclaimed 76% of the Q1-Q2 drop, with an extra productivity boost.
The big February-March gyration in a goods-sector workweek and hours-worked data partly reflected the out-sized February hit from bad weather and the Texas freeze. The household survey revealed a drop in the number of employees not at work because of bad weather to 116k from 897k (was 939k) in February and 176k (was 197k) in January.